A BRAVE toddler battling an extremely rare form of cancer has inspired five 'angels' to run 100k at one go to help fund medical research.

The Taunton runners are determined to complete the Thames Path challenge from Fulham to Henley for Ruari 'Ru' Hackland.

Ru, who is the only three-year-old in the UK with anaplastic large cell lymphoma negative (ALK), has undergone three "gruesome" rounds of chemotherapy since he was diagnosed last year. He is currently in remission.

Ru's Angels Kerrie Bawden, Laura Davenport, Matthew Haslett, Jo Lowe and Jo Routley, all aged between 37 and 50 and members of Taunton Running Club, have been training hard for the run on September 7, which they hope to finish inside the 16-hour time limit.

They are friends of Ru's parents, John and Cat, who used to live in Taunton, and have been putting in 30-mile training runs.

Kerrie said: "There's no research into Ru's form of cancer and no case studies.

"We want to raise as much as possible for research into ALK, which is very rare. We've had a quiz and already raised about £5,000.

"Ru has been so brave throughout the whole time despite having to go through some really gruesome treatment.

"John and Cat think we're mad running the equivalent of two and a half marathons, but they're really pleased we're doing it."

ALCL is responsible for just one per cent of childhood cancers and ALK negative is a tiny percentage of that. In the UK, doctors have not seen the disease before in a child as young as Ru.

Ru's parents said: "We have relied upon national experts to discuss his case, draw on research from similar cancers, look at trials at home and abroad and decide on the best route forward.

"He started an intensive treatment protocol of chemotherapy drugs and steroids. Our road ahead is scary and uncertain but our gorgeous boy is leading the way through it with his smile as big as ever.

"He has been so brave, taking everything that is thrown at him and not once complaining."

The Super Ru charity has partnered with Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group to enable fundraising efforts to be channelled into the most relevant and suitable areas of research for Ru's cancer.

To donate to Ru's Angels visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/RuAngels